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Martin England Art
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This is the compositional drawing and will be the basis for the final painting.

Starting with a drawing like this helps me and the customer to visualise the painting and see if it works as a concept.

Painting stage 1 is as ever to transfer the sketch onto the stretched canvas (medium weave). Blocking in the main areas.

At this stage I leave the canvas white where the clouds will be.

Now the painting starts to develop - usually from the background forwards (as the foreground will overpaint some of the background).

The main features of Maldon have been blocked in.

Already there is a feeling of light.

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The Background (Maldon) is almost complete -just the barges (and other boats) at the quay to add.

The base water colour shows the light reflecting off it and also adds to the overall feeling of lightness.

In order to keep it clean and white, the fore-sail is the only part of the foreground barge to painted as yet - that will be started shortly.

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Moored barges now added, at the quay.

One of the more difficult areas is next - the river. Getting all the reflected and non-reflected colours in and achieving the illusion of the waters surface. Still some work to be done.

The barge has been blocked-in at a more of an angle than the sketch, adding a bit more of a sense of movement.

Note the slight colour shift from the previous photos - this is due to the white balance of the digital photo being different for different light conditions. Who says cameras can’t lie!

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The fabulous shape and colour of the sails makes them so distinctive.  

A lot of detail has been added to the barge but still some bits to go. This foreground details really gives that feeling of depth.

This stage is always quite exiting as the whole painting comes together.
The finished painting.

Detail added to the water and a coot makes a fast exit from the reeds.

This is a commissioned oil painting, on a stretched 55x35cm canvas.


One of the infamous Thames Barges sails up the River Blackwater towards Maldon.


“Maldon Reach”